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Opera Mobile 9.7 Beta Debuts With Major Speed Boost

Opera has announced the launch of Opera Mobile 9.7 Beta for Windows Mobile phones and promises much faster surfing thanks to the browser's proprietary Opera Turbo feature.

Version 9.7 also brings in a new upgraded browser engine called Opera Presto 2.2 which offers faster page loads and, according to Opera, "better overall performance", although it fails to quantify the jump in performance compared to other rival browsers.

The browser also introduces Opera Widgets which allows users to pull data from particular websites faster and using less clicks. Opera says that the new browser should be 25 percent faster than previous versions and is compatible with Windows Mobile 5 and 6 only.

Central to this claim is the Turbo which uses Opera's own server farm to accelerate rendering which frees the smartphone's resources and therefore improves download rates and overall performance (ed: wished desktop browsers could do that as well).

There's also the fact that Turbo incorporates a proprietary "advanced" compression technology that reduces the amount of data that needs to be downloaded by up to 80 percent. We tested it on Opera 10 Beta and found out that it actually reduced the size of the images as well.

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Note that downloads do not work in Opera while Turbo is enabled and some settings such as toggling on/off in images do not work when Opera Turbo is enabled. S60 and UIQ users will need to wait for a new version. For now they can either use version 8.65 or Opera Mini.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.